Who Should Be Tested For Alpha-1?

Anyone can be tested for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (Alpha-1). The American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (international organizations of lung doctors) have provided detailed recommendations for testing specific categories of patients. In general, their recommendations included testing people with lung and/or liver problems, as well as people having a relative who is known to have Alpha-1. Rarely, people who have an unusual skin problem (“panniculitis”) should be tested.

A scientific study published in February, 2014 showed a clear risk of lung problems among current and ex-smokers who have only one gene for Alpha-1. As the results of this study become better known, many people with a history of smoking will want to be tested even if they do not currently have lung problems.